Nutella Magic Bars

These are honestly, just like the title suggests, pure magic. I only came across them recently, from Pinterest, but they have made a big impression, and will feature in my baking repertoire from now on. A lot. If you like Nutella (or in this case, a supermarket substitute claiming to be the same), and gooey, sticky caramel, this recipe is definitely for you.

Nutella Magic Bars - A biscuit base topped with Nutella and chocolate morsels, encased in a gooey caramel, these Nutella Magic Bars are sublime! | thehecticcook.com

It would appear that ‘magic bars’ are a type of traybake from our friends across the pond. From what I can gather – and do let me know if I’m wrong – pretty much anything and everything can top a magic bar. The key ingredients appear to be a biscuit base and condensed milk poured over everything, then baked.

So let’s get down to brass tacks.

Ingredients

12 digestive biscuits
30g butter, melted
80g Nutella
100-150g chocolate chips
20g toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1 can of condensed milk

Note: The quantity of chocolate is really just a guide. Use as much as you want. It’s your arteries. Like I said before, the toppings are completely your choice. The sweetie aisle is your oyster. You could totally omit the Nutella if you’d like; use desiccated coconut; use white, milk and/or dark chocolate (I personally like a bit of each); use other types of chocolate like M&M’s or smarties (great for kids) or chopped up Mars bars etc. All that’s stopping you is your own imagination.

1. Either throw the digestives in a blender/blitzer, or bash the living daylights out of them in a bag with a rolling pin. Add this to the melted butter in a bowl.

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2. Line a baking tray with baking paper/parchment – by ‘line’, I mean ‘place in’. Nothing fancy. Just put the paper in the tray. My tray was 12″x7″, but a 9″ square would work, or anything of similar size.

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3.  Pour the biscuit mix into the tray and squish it down well and good. Get it really quite compact and into the edges and corners.

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4. Plop the nutella all over this base layer. Just plop it on, as random as you like. Or in nice straight rows for you OCD types.

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5. On top of this, sprinkle all the toppings you want to add. Spread them all over the biscuit layer and Nutella, no need to be fancy, just a nice even layer of loveliness. Then pour your whole tin of condensed milk over that. And then lick out the tin.

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6. Pop this in a preheated oven – about 170C fan – for about 25 minutes, until it’s bubbling and golden. I might have slightly over done mine (again I’m still using the excuse of a new oven, although that’ll get old soon). Let it cool pretty much completely before you take it out of the tray and slice it up. If you can. Mine was still pretty warm when I started into it.

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I might have eaten three squares in the process of cutting it up. It’s just that good. It can’t be helped. Well unless you’re weird like the Husband who, ‘doesn’t like caramel’ – weirdo. So I had to offload a fair bit of this to my friend Laura to save me from myself. Sorry Laura – she’s a lot skinnier than me though, so I don’t feel too bad.

Nutella Magic Bars - A biscuit base topped with Nutella and chocolate morsels, encased in a gooey caramel, these Nutella Magic Bars are sublime! | thehecticcook.com

If you don’t like this, I’m not sure I can be your friend (I have to let the Husband off as we have four kids together…). Enjoy!

Happy cooking!

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The 'Best' Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crisp edge, soft chewy middle, loaded with chocolate chips, these really are the best chocolate chip cookies!

I don’t make the claim in the title lightly. I’ve made a lot of chocolate chip cookies in my time. Different recipes, all claiming to be great. I found this recipe on Pinterest, it’s from the New York Times. They claimed it was the best, and by jove, I fully agree! (I’ve changed it a smidge to suit me, but nothing drastic)

However, this does depend on what you’re looking for in your cookie. Are you looking for a lovely, crunchy edge? A buttery, chewy middle? A wealth of chocolate chips? Yes? Then these are the cookies for you! I like to think of them as the classic American chocolate chip cookie (American friends, please don’t shoot me down in flames here). Whatever you’re looking for, regardless of what you like, these are a good cookie. Make them, and tell me what you think.

Ingredients

140g unsalted butter, softened
140g soft light brown sugar
110g granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
240g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
200g chocolate chips (or whatever you fancy; smarties, M&M’s, cranberries & white choc chips)

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | thehecticcook.com

1. Cream the butter and sugar together. I used my mixer for this, but you could do it with a hand-mixer, or even by hand. Creaming isn’t as important for biscuits as it is for cake. Really just give them a good old mix.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | thehecticcook.com

2. Next beat in the egg and the vanilla extract.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | thehecticcook.com

3. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt) into the bowl, then add the chocolate chips and give it a good mix.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | thehecticcook.com

If you’re doing this by hand-mixer or by hand, you’re probably as well getting stuck in with your hands as the mixture becomes quite stiff.

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4. I tend to spoon this out of the bowl onto clingfilm and roll it into a sausage (you need a fairly big piece of clingfilm to do this), before popping it into the fridge for at least a couple of hours. The dough will keep quite nicely in the fridge for days. Or you can even freeze the dough.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | thehecticcook.com

You need to refrigerate the dough before baking it, otherwise the cookies will spread too much.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | thehecticcook.com

5. When you’re ready to bake the dough, preheat your oven to 170°C (fan)/325°F/Gas 3. Take the dough out of the fridge and cut it into slices.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | thehecticcook.com

6. Roll each slice into a nice little ball, and lay on greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Space them nicely apart as they will spread a fair bit (even after refrigeration) once in the oven.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | thehecticcook.com

7. Pop them into the oven for about 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye, as they don’t take long and you want to get them out just as the edges are starting to brown. I’m still getting used to my oven, and would say that mine are slightly overcooked (oops!).

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | thehecticcook.com

I got 38 cookies out of this mix (excuse the hand of an overeager 3 year old!). My cookies slightly vary in size – obviously because I’m catering for adults and children alike (ahem).  These will keep in an airtight container for at least a week – if not longer, they’ll just get a bit harder.

I hope you find these as ridiculously good as I do. Now all I’ve got to do is not eat them all….

Happy cooking!

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